Roasting lamb shanks before slowly braising them removes much of the fat and gives a wonderful flavour, which perfectly complements the fragrant vegetable mix of lentils, tomatoes, courgettes and figs.
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2 lamb shanks, about 340g each
2 tbsp olive oil
6 shallots, quartered
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 fresh sprigs of rosemary
1 bay leaf
500g tomatoes, skinned and quartered
300g dried green lentils
850ml lamb or vegetable stock, or as needed
2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp runny honey
8 dried figs, quartered
2 courgettes, thickly sliced
TO GARNISH chopped fresh coriander
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Method Prep:30min › Cook:2hr › Ready in:2hr30min
Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas 7. When the oven is hot enough, put the lamb shanks in a roasting tin and roast for 25 minutes until they are a rich brown colour on the outside. Drain on kitchen paper. Reduce the oven to 160°C/gas 3.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole over a medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring until lightly browned. Stir in the garlic, rosemary, bay leaf and tomatoes and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the lentils, then add the lamb shanks, pushing them down into the vegetable mixture.
Stir the pomegranate molasses and honey into the stock, then pour over the lamb. Slowly bring to the boil, then cover the casserole with a tight-fitting lid and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.
Remove the casserole from the oven, add a little more stock if needed and stir in the figs and courgettes (this is easier if you lift out the lamb shanks first, then return them after stirring). Cover and cook in the oven for a further 45 minutes or until the lamb is very tender. Lift out the lamb and carve the meat from the 2 shanks. Discard the bones and return the lean meat to the casserole. Gently stir through, then serve scattered with chopped coriander.
Pomegranate molasses is made with concentrated pomegranate juice. It's stocked in the ‘special ingredient’ section of larger supermarkets.